The majestic beauty of the Goddess.
The list of items to be carried, was prepared as early as April, 2005. The programme was tentatively fixed for August, 2005.
The route was decided by April end. We were to reach Joshimath via Delhi and Haridwar. From Joshimath we were to arrange the mules/pack-horses etc and were to proceed to Auli where we would start our trek. The third day would find us at Kuari Pass, one of the most picturesque of the high passes in the Indian Himalaya. From there we would go on to the village of Wan, through Dakwani Meadow, Surtoli Meadow and the villages of Pana, Jhenji, Ramni and Sutol. From Wan we were to take the steep path uphill to Bedni Bugyal. The ninth day would find us at Rupkund. From Rupkund we were to return back through Bedni and Ali bugyals to Mundoli. 10 days in total with a spare day in case of exigencies. We knew we were cutting it a little fine, since normally the route would take 15 days, including a day for acclimatisation.
By May, Ranjith jumped into the bandwagon. By June, Kannan and Chandan also joined in. We now had a team, 6 strong.
The dates were decided. We would start our journey on August 19th and would be back in Bangalore on September 4th.
Since Kannan was coming from USA, we decided to purchase our tents and sleeping bags from there. He was to meet us at Delhi on August 19th.
For the maps I checked out the Survey of India office at Koramangala, Bangalore. They had previously given us an excellent topographical map for a trek to Kudremukh. But unfortunately, this time they said that the detailed topographical maps of the area we were going to - Chamoli District, Uttaranchal - cannot be given since this area lies close to the China border and is hence sensitive. The maximum they could provide was a 1:1,000,000 Uttaranchal map and a 1:250,000 Badri-Kedar trekking map. Absolutely inadequate for our requirements.
We were frantic. It was already August 2nd. I immediately called up Kannan and asked him to buy some maps through the net. According to Lonely Planet "Trekking in the Indian Himalaya" by Gary Weare, the best maps were the Leoman Series and Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research (SFAR) series. Kannan immediately ordered the same. Cost quite a packet.
By 15th of August we had made ready almost everything in the list. Only thing missing was the food items, which we were to purchase from Joshimath.